Lee Evans Word-for-Word

Read the entire 15-minute press conference with wide receiver Lee Evans from Tuesday afternoon, with detailed information on which direction Evans is leaning towards next season, his thoughts on his decision not to play this year, and his thought process moving forward.

Can you take us through the decision-making process you had to go through?

Evans: Well, my decision was that I felt I was going to be ready to play last week in the Ohio State game. We got one more evaluation, I practiced during the week, and during that eval, I met with the doctor and he said my knee did not look ready to play and that I really needed to slow down and take my time and get my knee healthy before I should think about playing. And at the rate that I have to go now to get my knee healthy, there's not enough season. Due to that, I'm not going to be able to play.

How long did it take you to come to that conclusion on your own? Did it take you a while, or did you accept it right away?

Evans: No, I still haven't accepted it. It's hard just to sit and think that I'm going to out of football for a whole year. I'm not going to be able to play another game for a whole year. That's kind of one of the more mental challenges that I have to get across. But I'm going to have to do it. I'm definitely disappointed in the decision because I had all intentions on playing this season. But I guess what's best for me in the long run, I guess not.

Last week in practice, how close to 100 percent were you?

Evans: Well before practice, I thought…I couldn't say it was 100 percent, but it felt good enough to where I could have went out and practiced, and I felt, played and be effective in the game. And I knew that was going to be a starting, a jump off point for me and I would be able to escalate and improve as the season went along. I can't say I was back to 100 percent, but I did feel as if I was able to play and be effective.

You've had a wonderfully positive attitude up to this point. Is that positive attitude still there?

Evans: It still is, but you know, now I have to start thinking about things in the future. I'm still going to definitely be positive. There's no reason for me to hold my head down. It's nobody's fault. But it's just one of those things I'm going to have to come to terms with. I'm going to have to move on, like I did before.

Do the doctors know what is causing the swelling?

Evans: No, not really. That's one of the issues. But it's always something. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is, but that's one of the issues.

Did they give you a rough timeframe of when you will be healthy?

Evans: Well you know, not really. Because we did the whole timeframe thing before, and now it's like, don't focus on playing, focus on getting the knee back healthy. And however long that takes, that's how long it's going to take. I'm not going to sit up here and tell you, it should be this long, it should be that long because I don't know. Whenever it calms down and gets back to where it needs to be, then I'll progress from there.

Didn't you take out an insurance policy against injuries last year?

Evans: Yeah, but that insurance policy is against career-ending injuries. Not just being out.

Where do you stand on the redshirt issue? Are you open-minded to that idea right now?

Evans: I don't really know. It's always been an option. It's an option that I've never really considered before because I felt I was going to play and I wanted to play. But seeing as I'm not going to play, it's more of an issue now and I'll decide on that when the time comes. But as for right now I'm open-minded to it. I'm not saying I'm shutting it out. But I just have to weigh my options and see what's best.

Emotionally how tough is this for you?

Evans: It's very tough. Very tough. You go through a lot of ups and downs and you deal with a lot of things. Emotionally it's tough, like I said before, just knowing and realizing you're going to be sitting out a whole year of football, not really doing anything football-specific other than getting healthy.

Have you literally lost sleep over this?

Evans: Yeah I have. I've lost a little bit of sleep, but I guess that's natural though. It's been on my mind ever since I heard. I'm trying to deal with it accordingly.

You have until January 15 to make a decision on the NFL Draft. Are you going to take most of that time to make your decision?

Evans: Well most of it is going to be decided on how my knee reacts. When it comes to December, how my knee is feeling, what I can do, what I can't do and things like that. So until then, I can't really speculate on how much time it's going to take. I just know by then, I should know or at least have a good idea what's best for me.

Does that mean if you can workout well for scouts, you are inclined to head to the NFL?

Evans: Yeah. If I feel I'm at 100 percent then. Because a lot of people are going to be caught up on the time from last spring. If I don't feel I'm close to running the same thing (4.28 40) then it would not be smart for me to come out. And if I can, then it will be more of a possibility.

Have you run a 40-time during your rehab?

Evans: I ran it one time. It was early in the rehab, but it was 4.5, 4.6.

Do you have a certain round of the draft that is a benchmark for making the decision?

Evans: I don't really know. I haven't really thought about that, but it will be an issue to consider as well.

Was the record of this year's team a consideration in your decision to sit out the rest of the season?

Evans: No, not at all. Not at all. I mean, it was great when we were winning, but it really wasn't a big deal. But now that we have a couple of losses, it would seem to be a big deal, but it's not. It's not at all.

Who are the people that you will seek advice and counsel from in this decision?

Evans: Well I'm going to be in touch a lot with the doctors that I have been, some of the players that went here and had ACL injuries, talk to them and talk to people in general. Teammates, older teammates who are in the league now who kind of know how it is, just talk to them and see what they think, or how it is, what they do in situations like that. I'm pretty much going to talk to the same people I talked to last year in making the decision, but under different (circumstances).

If you did decide to come back here another year, would you anticipate there being a fear factor, like what if I get injured again?

Evans: There's definitely a possibility. Just because it happened before. I can't say my mind will be cleared of that. But in the same sense, I can't be out there playing scared, thinking that…not going hard trying to prevent an injury, because that's when you get injured. When I'm out there, I'm going to play like I play and let life take it's course.

One of the reasons you mentioned in coming back for your senior year was you wanted to mature as a person. In a strange way, has this situation allowed you to do that?

Evans: Very much so. Very much so, and that's actually one of the things I told my teammates after I tore my ACL. In one way or another, I figured I was going to have to handle something real tough in order to grow and mature.

Do you believe you did everything humanly possible to come back this year?

Evans: I think I pushed myself very, very hard, very intensely. I think yeah, pretty much, I think I did everything I possibly could except rest a little more. I was kind of anxious to get out there and play and do all the things I wanted to do this year, to be where I wanted to be. But it didn't quite work out that way.

Does that lessen the hurt anymore, knowing you did everything you could?

Evans: I mean, yeah, it hurts but I tried. That's the most important thing. I'd be more sad if I didn't think I tried the whole way. That would probably be more of an issue.

You've had a lot of decisions to make since high school. Is that making you grow up a little? Mess with your head a little? How are you dealing with that?

Evans: You know, you kind of got to talk to a lot of people, but for yourself, you just have to figure out where you are and what's most important to you. I have to make all the decision based on me, what I feel is the most important thing for me to do. At times, it's tough, because you consider so many options, what could (be), what if? But I think in the end, the true colors showed themselves. And by the end, you kind of know what you're going to do.

Do you still feel like you made the right decision last year?

Evans: Definitely, I feel good that way. There's always the "what if" factor, but like I said before, I was confident in my decision to do what I wanted to do last year, and it's led me to be here, kind of in the same position I was last year, but that's the path I chose. There's nothing I can do about that now.

Would you advise a college junior in the position you were in last season to go pro or stay in school?

Evans: I mean, I wouldn't tell them one way or another, because every situation is different. I would just try to talk to him, see what they were thinking. My advice to them would be, do what is best for you and your family because ultimately that's what matters. There are a lot of other what ifs, ands and buts, and things like that, but you have to do what's most important to you.

Where are you in relation to a college degree and does that factor into your decision at all?

Evans: Very much so. If I was to leave this year, then I probably wouldn't graduate. I probably would need another…I can't remember the exact amount of credits. But if I were to stay and redshirt, then I would definitely graduate.

How involved will you remain with this team, this season?

Evans: I will be doing everything I did, even when we were deciding what I'm going to do. I'm still going to go out to practice and talk to the receivers, and still try to be a leader for this team, because there are still a lot of things we can do this year. I'm going to take it on my shoulders to help us get there.

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